HC Deb 27 July 1965 vol 717 cc202-3
1. Mr. Awdry

asked the Minister of Technology what discussions he has held with foreign countries regarding the mutual development of advanced technological projects.

The Minister of Technology (Mr. Frank Cousins)

As my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary explained on 3rd May, the possibilities of practical collaboration in the fields of aircraft development and other advanced technologies are being considered with various European Governments. In my own field there have been a number of talks at the official level, but matters have not yet reached the stage where discussions between Ministers would be fruitful.

Mr. Awdry

Does the Minister agree that really it is extremely important that we should get closer co-operation with Europe in the field of science, and has he carried out any detailed analysis to find out in which sectors of science and technology such co-operation would be fruitful?

Mr. Cousins

It is, of course, highly desirable that there should be collaboration in civil technological subjects, but I repeat that it is in the best interests of all of us that we should not hurry into something of no commercial value to us. The hon. Gentleman will have heard of the steps taken in one field and we hope that there will be opportunities to develop others, but this is not primarily a Government responsibility.

Mr. Woodburn

Is my right hon. Friend aware that, with the approval of his Ministry, a conference was held three weeks ago with all the European technicians with regard to computers and space research with a view to finding out how far the private enterprise computer and space research industry could collaborate in having an independent European production of these articles?

Mr. Cousins

I am aware of that conference, of course, because we participated in it, but I remain convinced that it is primarily a commercial job in the first instance.

Sir H. Legge-Bourke

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that a number of analogue computers were being used in connection with the TSR2? Is he taking any steps to see whether these computers might be useful in the joint development, for example, of the swept-wing aircraft with the French?

Mr. Cousins

No, Sir. I have not. This is primarily the responsibility of my right hon. Friend the Minister of Aviation.